Without much fanfare, Montreal-based Fednav sent its ice-strengthened bulk carrier Nunavik (22,622gt/27,997dwt) westward through the Northwest passage to Bayuquan, China during the autumn of 2014 with a cargo of 23,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate, which was loaded at Deception Bay, Canada.

Heavily built, and considered the most powerful non-nuclear icebreaking bulk carrier in the world, the ship, which was launched at the Japanese shipyard in July 2013, travelled the entire route unescorted. According to the ship’s owners, the Northwest passage was 40 per cent shorter than the traditional Panama Canal route and, as a result, greenhouse gas emissions by the vessel were reduced by more than 1,300 tonnes. JS

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